International treaties and agreements are between countries -- not
between leaders or governments, for if that were the case they would not
be worth the paper they were written on. The Anti-ballistic Missile
Treaty with the Soviet Union was signed in 1972. Bush II withdrew
unilaterally in 2001 citing a changed world. On June 1, 2017, Donald
Trump announced the U.S. will cease all participation in the Paris
Climate Treaty signed two years earlier. On Tuesday last he quit the
Two days later, the White House released the date and location of Mr. Trump's meeting with Kim Jong-Un. One can only wonder what Kim is thinking. The last person voluntarily giving up nuclear weapons received a bayonet colonoscopy -- hardly anyone's preferred exit from this world -- and that at the hands of the allies of a Nobel Peace Laureate US president. Fortunately, the circumstances in North Korea's case are quite different: the other party, South Korea, is stable, seeks closer relations, in fact is the prime mover in the current initiative.
the Iran deal breakup, the fallout is telling. The major European
countries (UK, France and Germany) have the most to lose economically --
a huge Airbus airplane contract is just one example. Always intended
as a bargain, the deal offered Iran re-entry into world commerce in
exchange for giving up nuclear ambitions. The U.S. now threatens
reprisals against any companies violating its edict: obey U.S.
sanctions or else .... The Europeans could choose to present a united
front and protect their companies through legislation and similar
reprisals. But who wants such an economic war? The companies
themselves are likely to have commercial interests in the U.S. dwarfing
anything in Iran.
peace agreement inevitably raises the prospect of war. It would be a
disaster. Iran commands the Strait of Hormuz and a blocked Persian Gulf
could see a quadrupling or more in the price of oil, bringing the
current economic and stock market boom to a crashing end. Missile
attacks from Iran and its ally Hezbollah would cause havoc in Israel's
cities; asymmetric warfare in Syria and Iraq would cost American lives.
Iran would be drawn closer into the Russian-Chinese orbit and might
even sign a defense pact with Russia -- perhaps earlier still if it felt
the approaching winds of war.
all these reasons, war may appear to be a long shot, yet Trump's
advisors, notably, John Bolton and Mike Pompeo, harbor an irrational
hatred towards the country, and Benjamin Netanyahu imagines it to be the
last viable threat to neutralize. He also has a corruption indictment
hanging over him, while Trump has his own legal troubles.
the other hand, a bellicose Trump is just that ... bellicose. As with
North Korea, he could well be seeking a deal on better terms, namely, more
restrictions for Iran in the future. Iran will not surrender its
missiles; it might be more accommodating on future enrichment of nuclear
Let's hope reason prevails ... sometimes it does. Look at North Korea!